The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Dare was a really enjoyable read. I don’t think I have ever read anything about Nigeria. In this story, “Adunni is a fourteen-year-old Nigerian girl who knows what she wants: an education. This, her mother has told her, is the only way to get a “louding voice”—the ability to speak for herself and decide her own future. But instead, Adunni’s father sells her to be the third wife of a local man who is eager for her to bear him a son and heir.” After she escapes that marriage and moves to the big city, she learns how bad life can be at the hands of a wealthy mistress. I won’t spoil the ending, but this was a quick read and a page-turner. I highly recommend it.
All the Ways We Said Goodbye is another story by the three authors, Lauren Willig, Beatriz Williams, and Karen White. I enjoyed their previous two, The Glass Ocean and The Forgotten Room (both also earning 4.5 stars). This one spans the early twentieth century, WWI, and WWII, and weaves together three stories, told separately at first and then connected. It’s a great book to throw yourself into, though it’s long, and just the kind I enjoy on the beach.
Lock Every Door by Riley Sager has been on my reading list for ages and it finally came up at the library. It’s a blow-through-thriller that doesn’t require much thought, but it was inventive and suspenseful. Jules has found the perfect gig after being let go from her job and breaking up with her boyfriend – make $1000/week for staying in a gorgeous apartment overlooking Central Park. There are bunch of rules that go along with this job, but she is desperate enough to go along with them. And then she discovers that the building may be hiding a number of secrets. Some of them may even be deadly. This was, as I said earlier, not anything challenging, but it was a good summer choice.
I bought Waking Up White by Debby Irving and got it on audiobook at the same time. So, while I listened to it on my walk/runs, I kept having to stop, find the part that was resonating with me in the text to underline and notate, and then start again. I enjoyed hearing the memoir read by the author and highly recommend both the audiobook and the book itself. It’s a great primer on race in America. Debby is a good writer and speaks of her awakening in a relatable way. There are lots of things to quote, but this at the very end struck me in particular:
“I can’t give away my privilege. I’ve got it whether I want it or not. What I can do is use my privilege to create change. I can speak up without fear of bringing down my entire race. I can suggest change with less chance of losing my job. If I lose my job, I have a white husband who can support me because he’s a white man who had access to education and now has access to employment. If my husband’s job gets targeted because I speak up against racism, I have an extended circle of white family and friends who would advocate for us. At least I think they would….We have a choice to make: resist change and keep alive antiquated beliefs about skin color, or outgrow those beliefs and make real the equality we envision.”
Grab this book if you can find it.
Any book that Oprah picks is usually one I like. I so miss her old book club. She chose Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker and I knew why just from the first 10%! It’s the story of a family of 12 kids, six of whom have schizophrenia. I could not put this book down and, even though it was lengthy, read it in two days. It was that good. I absolutely recommend it and will add it to my list of best books of the year.
Long Bright River by Liz Moore is another book that’s been on my list for a while. The library, as I have mentioned, while closed, has been a great source for Kindle books. This is the complicated mystery/thriller tale of Mickey and Kasey who were abandoned by their parents, raised by their grandmother, and ended up in two completely different circumstances. Mickey, a police officer, patrols the area where Kasey, a drug addict, spends her days. There is much complication and corruption between their two lives. This book carried on at a good clip and it was suspenseful and not easily predictable. So, I would recommend it if this is a genre you enjoy.
I have had My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell on my list for a long time and the audiobook came up on Hoopla, so I have been listening to it on my walks. It was dark, disconcerting (think Lolita), and not much to my liking. And, then it was due at the library when I had six hours left to go. Did I try to renew it? No. So, this one isn’t on my recommended list, but to be fair, I didn’t finish it.
I had high hopes for The Two Lives of Lydia Bird by Josie Silver, thinking it might be a Sliding Doors type of story. Rather, it is her waking life and her dream life. While this wasn’t a terrible story, it wasn’t as good as I had hoped. Lydia’s fiance dies in a car crash and she is having a tough time recovering. In her dream life, he is still alive and she escapes frequently. This is a summer read for sure, but not one I would wholeheartedly recommend.
You can’t be a White person in this country right now and not be thinking about the privilege you are provided by waking up each day and being White. I want to dig deeper and read more on the topic of bias and systemic racism in order to do better and to make change. In addition to my earlier Summer Reading Post (and I still hope to have time to lose myself in some frivolous reading), I have created another list of books I’m going to read this summer. Links follow photos.
Waking Up White by Debby Irving
White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo, PhD
How To Be An Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson
Me and White Supremacy by Layla F. Saad
Raising Our Hands by Jenna Arnold
So You Want to Talk About Race by Ijeoma Oluo
Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
So, I have already posted my choices for good summer reads that I have vetted. This post covers those I am looking forward to biting off myself. This year I was able to limit myself to ten! Let me know if you have read and enjoyed or hated any of them. They will be packed in my beach bag…